Problem: Translational science is a relatively simple concept. By taking a targeted point of view, the biomedical community can translate what it has learned in the laboratory into the diagnosis and treatment of patients. However, while this bench to bedside method will provide future innovative and personalized medical treatments, there are still challenges today. For information to be translated from the clinic to the laboratory and back again, researchers and clinicians have to work together and share information from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, hospitals and academia. The growing amounts of data associated with this research have posed great challenges for laboratory information management.
Translational research is conducted across a variety of locations, involving collaboration between many different types of labs, including research hospitals and academic consortiums, clinical testing, contract research and pharmaceutical companies. The data management needs at each of these organizations are unique as the work being done to improve human health differs greatly. Hospitals need to ensure that the patient’s needs come first during the study, academic consortiums want to ensure that they are doing novel research, CROs need to ensure quick turnaround of samples, and pharmaceutical companies need to ensure they are gathering all the information necessary to ensure their drug candidates are safe and effective. Despite such differences, when involved in translational research studies, each organization has the common need to perform sample collection and analysis that will yield quality samples and results, ultimately leading to new advancements in personalized medicine.
With the unique working environments, laboratory workflow and data management needs at each organization, it can be difficult to manage all the data and people involved in such collaboration in order for proper results to be communicated to the correct audience at the correct time.
Translational science is reliant on the integration of informatics solutions with other technologies and instruments and a LIMS can enable organizations to overcome barriers, communicate and share valuable information with other areas.
Samples often move between the hospital and the pharmaceutical company during the study. Thermo Scientific Nautilus LIMS tracks samples from the building, to the freezer shelf, down to the individual well position of the plate.
Solution: A laboratory information management system (LIMS) is able to address all of these challenges. Doctors and nurses are able to find the samples to collect and process in an intuitive manner. This enables them to focus on the patients and follow the study protocol. With biospecimens, traceability is critical. Once the sample reaches the laboratory, the LIMS tracks and displays the location of every sample, and is able to monitor their parent-and-child relationships from the freezer to individual plate well. All information that has been collected on either the primary sample or any of its aliquots is linked and can be viewed in the system. It also monitors equipment and personnel in the laboratory, enabling scientists to better prioritize workloads and improve turnaround time. Once final results are collected, information is visible across the study, allowing for real-time trending of study results for sponsors and principle investigators locally or from remote locations.
When a single LIMS deployment is used across a wide variety of research teams, users across multiple sites can access data at any time, allowing disparate groups within a research environment to work and share information. The connectivity between data sources results in a centralized approach to administration, offering great economies of scale for research organizations. A LIMS is a vital part of the integration efforts that result in collaboration between all participants in a study. Of course, all access in the system can be controlled to ensure that data is only seen by the appropriate team members. This allows one system to be used internally and with multiple collaborators.
Translational science is an evolving science, and one of the key challenges is how to balance the best possible patient care with furthering science in clinical research. LIMS is a critical tool for combining the needs of these different objectives.
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